Lex Fabia de ratione comitiorum populi tributorum (Nova Roma)

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This lex has been REPEALED.

Approved by comitia centuriata
Yes: 25 No: 8 Abs.: 0
a.d. III Non. Dec. K. Fabio T. Labieno cos. MMDCCLVI a.u.c.


I. All previous laws relating to the Comitia Populi Tributa are hereby rescinded as they apply to the election of magistrates and the voting of leges by the Comitia Populi Tributa. This Lex Fabia de Ratione Comitiorum Populi Tributorum is hereby enacted to define the procedures by which the Comitia Populi shall conduct the business of electing magistrates, voting on leges, and voting to convict or acquit citizens brought to trial before the Comitia Populi Tributa.

II. Calling the Comitia to Order. Either a Consul or Praetor may, as described in the Constitution, call the Comitia to order to hold a vote on a lex or leges, to hold an election, or to conduct a trial. The magistrate who calls the Comitia to order shall be referred to herein as the presiding magistrate.

A. This shall be done by making a public announcement announcing the call in those public fora which shall have been designated for such purpose, in which must be included:

1. The names of candidates for office and the office for which they are running (when the Comitia is being called for an election);

2. Date of Citizenship of each candidate;

3. The full text of any leges which are being voted on (when the Comitia are being called to legislate);

4. The dates when the members of the Comitia shall begin and finish voting.

5. Any special instructions that pertain to the mechanics of the vote.

6. In the case of a trial, the name of the accused, and the charges and specifications of which he or she is accused.

B. The presiding magistrate shall have the responsibility for taking all reasonable precautions to ensure that candidates for a vote hold whatever qualifications are required by law. The Censors shall assist in such efforts as to the best of their ability.

III. Timing of the vote.

A. The edictum containing the call to vote must be issued at least 120 hours (5 days) prior to the start of the vote. This period shall be known as the Contio, and shall be used for formal discussion of the issues and/or candidates before the People for a vote.

1. In the event that, in an election for a magisterial office, there are not enough candidates elected to fill all vacancies in that office, the presiding magistrate may call for a follow-up election among those same candidates who failed to obtain that office in the previous election. For these follow-up elections, the 120-hour (5-day) requirement for the length of the Contio (official discussion period) shall be shortened to 24 hours.

B. During the Contio, the following conditions shall apply:

1. Those constitutionally empowered to do so may exercise their powers of intercessio or nuntiatio.

a. Intercessio may be exercised against either the entire election or vote, or against one or more individual items on the ballot. If there are any items on the ballot that have not been subjected to intercessio, voting on them shall proceed normally. The removal of an item from the ballot due to intercessio shall not prevent that item from being placed upon the ballot for a different vote at a later time.

b. The exercise of nuntiatio shall extend the Contio, postponing the starting and ending dates of the voting period by twenty-four (24) hours, during which time nuntiatio may again be exercised.

c. Should the exercise of nuntiatio cause the voting period to move such that it conflicts with calendrical restrictions as defined by the Collegium Pontificum, the presiding magistrate may change or extend the dates of the vote and/or contio at his discretion.

2. A member of the Collegium Augurum shall be invited by the presiding magistrate to seek favorable auspices for the conduct of the vote, subject to those rules and regulations the Collegium Augurum shall set forth by decreta, by selecting by lot the presidium (the first tribe to be counted) and ruling whether or not the lot is auspicious. The selection of Suburana shall always be regarded as inauspicious. Should the presiding magistrate himself be a member of the Collegium Augurum, he may take the auspices for the vote himself.

C. In the case of a vote on a lex, the period between the start and end of the voting must last no less than 120 hours (5 days).

D. In the case of a vote on the guilt or innocence of an accused citizen tried before the Comitia Populi Tributa, the period between the start and end of the voting must last no less than 192 hours (8 days).

E. The ability to vote during the voting period may be impacted and/or suspended due to calendrical issues as enacted by decreta of the Collegium Pontificum.

F. The diribitores shall tally the vote and shall deliver the results to the presiding magistrate within 48 hours of the close of the voting period.

G. The presiding magistrate shall announce the results of the vote within 24 hours of receiving the results from the diribitores, in at least the same venues as the original announcement calling the vote was published.

IV. Voting procedures.

A. The censors shall issue to each citizen a unique voter identification code. This code shall be used to maintain anonymity in the voting process, and to minimize the possibility of vote fraud. In a timely fashion prior to the vote, the censors shall make available to the diribitores a list of valid voter identification codes and the centuries and/or tribes with which they are associated. The diribitores shall not have access to the names of the citizens associated with particular voter identification codes.

B. In consultation with the diribitores, the magister aranearius shall make available a cista, a secure web-based form, to allow citizens to vote directly through the official Nova Roma web site. This form shall record the voter identification number and desired vote(s) of the individual. The information thus collected will either be forwarded to the diribitores as it is gathered, or at the end of the process, at their discretion. Alternative methods of voting may be enacted by other legislation as required.

C. For each candidate in the case in the case of a magisterial election, each voter shall have the option to mark the candidate 'yes (uti rogas)' or to leave the candidate unmarked; each ballot shall carry the following direction: 'you may vote for as many candidates as you wish, but you are advised to vote only for those candidates you strongly support'. For each proposed law in the case of legislation, each voter shall have the option of voting 'yes (uti rogas)' or 'no (antiquo)'. In the case of a trial, each voter shall have the option of voting "absolvo" (absolve, innocent), or "condemno" (condemn, guilty). Once cast, no vote may be altered, even with the correct voter identification code. Should multiple votes be registered with the same voter identification code, only the first one recorded shall be used when tallying the vote.

V. Procedures for counting votes.

A. Votes shall be counted by tribes.

1. In the case of a magisterial election, the votes of each tribe shall be calculated as follows. For each tribe, the candidates shall be ordered by the number of 'yes' votes they receive from voters in that tribe, the candidate who receives most 'yes' votes (ties being decided by lot) being numbered 1, and so on in descending order. If any candidates have no 'yes' votes from voters in that tribe, those candidates shall not be listed. Any tribe containing no 'yes' votes is 'void'.

2. In the case of a vote on a lex, each tribe shall vote in favor of the lex if a majority of the votes received by members of the tribe are in favor. Otherwise, the tribe shall be considered to have voted against the proposed lex. Ties shall be decided by lot.

3. In the case of a vote on the guilt or innocence of a citizen tried before the Comitia Populi Tributa, each tribe shall vote for conviction if a majority of the votes received from members of that tribe are marked condemno. Ties within a tribe will result in that century voting to acquit.

4. The custodes may decide how such decisions by lot shall be made in a fair manner. In the case of trials, no decisions will be made by lot.

B. The results of the tribes shall be counted sequentially, as follows.

1. The votes of all the tribes are compared, beginning with the presidium (as selected under II.B.2) and rotating through the rest of the tribes in their standard order.

2. The standard order of the tribes is: Suburana, Esquilina, Collina, Palatina, Romilia, Scaptia, Stellatina, Teretina, Voturia, Sergia, Tromentina, Oufetina, Fabia, Clustuminia, Lemonia, Horatia, Quirina, Cornelia, Sabatina, Aemilia, Aniensis, Falerna, Camillia, Galeria, Pomptina, Claudia, Velina, Menenia, Papiria, Votinia, Poblilia, Pollia, Maecia, Pupinia, Arnensis. So if, for exmple, the presidium is Pupinia, the next tribe will be Arnensis, the next Suburana, and so on.

3. In the case of a magisterial election, results are calculated as follows.

a. As soon as 18 (or, if any tribes are 'void', more than half the remaining tribes) tribes with the same first (number one) preference have been counted, that candidate is immediately elected. If no candidate is the first preference of a majority of the tribes, the candidate who is the first choice of fewest tribes (ties being decided by lot) is eliminated. The election or elimination of a candidate ends the first round.

b. If there are still vacancies to be filled, there is a second round in each tribe which voted for the elected or eliminated candidate as its first choice is given to its second choice candidate. If any tribe has no second choice, it becomes 'void'. The tribes are now compared again in the same order. As before, as soon as a majority of tribes (not including 'void' tribes) have been counted voting for the same candidate, that candidate is elected. If no candidate has a majority, the candidate with the fewest tribes is eliminated. This concludes the second round.

c. If there are still vacancies to be filled, each tribe held by the candidate who was elected or eliminated in the previous round is given to its second choice candidate or, if that candidate has been elected or eliminated, to its third choice candidate. Any tribe having no candidate as its next choice becomes 'void'. The tribes are counted again, in the same order, and any candidate who now has a majority of tribes (not including 'void' tribes) is elected; if no candidate has a majority then the candidate with the fewest tribes is eliminated, ending the third round.

d. This procedure is repeated until all the vacancies are filled.

e. If at the end of any round the number of candidates is equal to the number of vacancies and all the candidates have the same number of tribes, the tie is decided by lot, but rather than eliminate the loser, the winner is elected, and the round ends.

2. In the case of a vote on a lex, the tribes shall be counted in order, and as soon as a simple majority of the tribes casting votes have voted in favour, the lex is passed; if a majority votes against, the lex fails.

3. In the case of a trial, the tribes shall be counted in order, and as soon as 18 tribes have voted to condemn, the reus is convicted; if 18 or more tribes vote to absolve, the reus is absolved.

4. In the case of a magisterial elections, a "majority" is defined as "one half of the number of tribes (not including 'void' tribes) plus one, fractions being rounded down".

5. In the case of a vote on a lex, a "simple majority" is hereby defined as "one half of the number of tribes casting votes, plus one, fractions being rounded down". A tribe in which no voters cast votes shall not be counted toward this total.

6. In the case of a trial before the Comitia Populi Tributa, a "majority" is defined as 18 or more tribes. Tribes in which no votes are cast shall be counted as voting for acquittal.

C. Votes may be tallied by automated means should the diribitores determine such is preferable to, and at least as accurate as, a manual count.

D. Only the aggregate votes of the tribes shall be delivered to the presiding magistrate; the votes of individual citizens shall be secret.

[In accordance with the subsequent Lex Equitia de Vigintisexviris and praetorian edictum, the titles "rogatores" and "curator araneum" have been changed to the current, and more correct, "diribitores" or "custodes" and "magister aranearius," respectively. The duties formerly assigned to the rogatores have been divided; the diribitores now count votes, the custodes break ties and certify elections. The rogatores now assist the censores in registering new citizens].

[A. Tullia Scholastica, interpres linguae Latinae, scriba praetoris et magistri araneari, 2758].

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